Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Two Quartzsite chalk taggers arrested for criminal damage"

Story by Ruth Castillo, Reporter

Quartzsite, Arizona September 28, 2011 - Town workers in Quartzsite discovered tagging early Tuesday morning.

"Early morning about 7:30, some of the employees from the town of Quartzsite arrived at Town Hall, they discovered some tagging that had been done across the courtyard and the area entering town hall," says Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert.

Onsite cameras caught the action.

"In viewing the video surveillance recording, they identified two persons involved in the tagging the night before," says Chief Gilbert.

46-year-old Michael Roth and 58-year-old Dana Stadler of Quartzsite were arrested and booked into La Paz County Jail on 12 counts of criminal damage. Roth says he's fed up with Quartzsite Town government.

"After a long train of abuses, I finally decided that I'm going to exercise my First Amendment rights, which they hadn't allowed me over maybe years now," says Roth. "I've been arrested several times for just simply speaking uncomfortable truths of power and they won't let anybody discuss anything in town hall meetings."

Roth says he wanted to express himself.

"So what I did was took some chalk that I bought from Walmart and I simply put words that they didn't like on the concrete that's leading up to Town Hall and I got arrested for it," says Roth.

Although he admits to the tagging, Roth sees nothing criminal about it.

"There was no damage. I wrote it in chalk. They used a hose to clean it up. It took all of 15 seconds to wash this away and there was no damage," says Roth. "I though this was and still believe this is a perfectly legal way to voice your displeasure with an out of control local government."

However, Chief Gilbert calls it a hate crime.

"Most of it were hate-associated messages," says Chief Gilbert. "One writing said 'Death to the [Town] Council,' another said 'Hang them all.' There's one that says "Hang [Chief] Gilbert.' And most of them contained swastika symbols on the things that written."

Kswt News 13 questioned Roth's use of a symbolassociated with Nazi Germany and white supremicists. When asked what he meant to say when he scribed a swastika alongside the letters QPD, Roth said the Quartzsite Police are out of control.

"Well, I do obviously because I wrote it. I mean, what is more Nazi than to have police departments come out and attack political opponents, to try to silence political opponents, to jail political opponents?" said Roth.

Chief Gilbert questioned Roth's Freedom of speech defense.

"It's interesting that [Roth] didn't come in at 8 o'clock in the morning when Town Hall was open in daylight hours and both these individuals used the cover of darkness, you know, to come in when nobody was there when Town Hall was closed and do this tagging," said Gilbert.

OK, so I admit, it's not a Julian Beever masterpeice, but they're both just as temporary!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charges dropped against Oldham and Jones'

This morning in Quartzsite Municipal Court, all charges were dropped against former Mayor C. Richard Oldham, Desert Freedom Press Publisher Jennifer Jones, and her husband John. The charges on Oldham relate to a false allegation that permits had not been pulled for work on a storage building, but Oldham's lawyers were able to uncover copies that the town claimed to have no record of. The charges against Mr. And Mrs. Jones began when building official Al Johnson trespassed onto their property and assaulted Mrs. Jones in November of 2010 and culminated in the viral video of Quartzsite police illegally removing her from the June council meeting. Congratulations to all!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Well, it looks like Vigilante Vendor has pointed out what should have been obvious, that elected officials must follow the law.

Quartzsite Town Code States:
Section 2-1-7 Bond
Prior to taking office, every Council Member shall execute and file an official bond, enforceable against the principal and his sureties, conditioned on the due and faithful performance of his official duties, payable to the state and to and for the use and benefit of the town or any person who may be injured or aggrieved by the wrongful act or default of such officer in his official capacity. A person so injured or aggrieved may bring suit on such bond under provisions identical to those contained in A.R.S. § 38-260. Bonds shall be in such sum as shall be provided by resolution, and the premium for such bonds shall be paid by the town.

Mayor-elect Lizarraga did not follow the law and Judge Burke had no choice but to declare him "unqualified" in the Jones v Lizarraga contest of the August 30th mayoral recall election. Apparently, Mrs. Jones also proved that it is illegal to appoint a mayor, as was done with Akin and Huntley, so there will be no mayor at all until the next election cycle in March of 2012. Meetings can be run by the vice mayor until that time. More to come...stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chalk the Police and Protest QPOA officers being terminated - Oct. 1st

"Chalk the Police is a nation wide campaign to raise public awareness about policing issues. Folks from all over the country will be heading out to their local police station(s) or parks (anywhere that’s public property) to advocate, in solidarity, police accountability.

The idea is to bring signs, fliers and (of course) chalk to their demonstration. While there ask folks passing by if they have something they’d like to say to the police. If they do, hand them some chalk – note, you should check the laws in your area about chalking public property (even though chalk doesn’t damage, some cops get angry over this)."

So, if you've got something to say to Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, write it in chalk on the sidewalk, or other public place on October 1st!

Quartzsite politics makes AZ Repubic again

In small Arizona towns, politics can turn bitter
Rivalries often personal, pit neighbor vs. neighbor

by Dennis Wagner - Sept. 18, 2011 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

Small towns are mostly serene places, free of serious political drama.

Council meetings seem anesthetically uneventful.

But, once in a while, all hell breaks loose in America's rural burgs. Residents get their dander up, often over some relatively minor slight. Sides are chosen. Rumors spread. Insults are traded.

It's a political version of "Peyton Place," the novel about intrigue in a fictional town where everybody knows everybody else.

• Quartzsite feud continues
Tusayan still divided

In several Arizona communities, that melodrama is reality: From Quartzsite in the Sonoran Desert to Tusayan in the Kaibab Forest to Safford in the Gila River Valley, locals are all tangled up in lawsuits, voter recalls, criminal allegations and business boycotts stemming from personal and political differences.

Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said such municipal "volcanoes" are an exception - most tiny municipalities are more like Mayberry R.F.D. than Peyton Place.

But when things go haywire, a basic social dynamic emerges: Life is more intimate, so the rivals have more dirt on one another, more hurt feelings to overcome.

Throw in family ties, a dash of Internet gossip and a pinch of local news coverage and you've got the recipe for a brawl in the boondocks. Or, as Strobeck puts it, "I think we all know about the Hatfields and the McCoys."

Bob Benedetti, director of the University of the Pacific's Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership, says democracy is a tricky proposition in rural towns because a handful of dedicated people can determine ballot results.

"These people know each other," said Mike Kryzanek, a political scientist at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. "They're neighbors who see each other at the coffee shop and soccer field. So it becomes personal."

Haywire system

Arizona has 91 municipalities, 15 counties and more than 220 school districts - all with elected leaders and bureaucracies. Given that fact, Strobeck says, the number of political blowups is minimal.

Part of his job is to visit local governments, giving seminars on how to conduct public business effectively and harmoniously. Although disputes inevitably pop up, most get resolved quickly either by those already in office, or by voters who replace them in the next election.

"That's the way they're supposed to operate, and it's the way we teach them," Strobeck says.

But the system has gone haywire in Quartzsite, a desert town on Interstate 10 where opposing factions have accused one another of rigging elections, governing in secret and abusing police powers. Strobeck says he met with town leaders, trying to emphasize cordiality and professionalism. He explained parliamentary procedures, the open-meetings statutes and Arizona public-records laws. But no amount of coaching or coaxing seemed to help in a town that has been in turmoil since it became incorporated two decades ago.

In 1993, the town's second mayor was charged with plotting the assassination of the first mayor in a case that wound up being dropped by prosecutors.

Since then, relations have deteriorated. Quartzsite has been through six mayors and four recall elections in the past three years. About a dozen political activists have been arrested, including now-former Mayor Ed Foster and a local newspaper publisher who was hauled out of a town meeting in handcuffs while advocating freedom of speech.

Most of the municipal law officers say the police chief misused his authority by investigating and jailing political foes, an allegation that is under review by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The La Paz County Attorney's Office ruled that Town Council members conducted an unlawful meeting.

The state ombudsman rebuked municipal leaders for violating Arizona's public-records law.

Through it all, at least three rival newspaper publishers continue to spew bile at the politicians and one another.

Foster, leader of a self-described reform campaign against the majority of Town Council members, says state authorities responsible for upholding government integrity are fearful of interfering in local disputes, so they look the other way, empowering those willing to break the law. As a result, Foster says, Quartzsite officials have developed an inflated sense of importance.

"They think they're a kingdom here and, because we're a small town, they've gotten away with it," he says. "Small towns are slipping through the cracks."

Foster's tenure as mayor ended last month, when he was ousted in a recall election by former Councilman Jose Lizarraga.

In a lawsuit filed this month, a third mayoral candidate asked La Paz County Superior Court to disqualify and remove Lizarraga for allegedly violating laws that govern public records and meetings.

If that civil complaint fails, Foster says he's preparing to run in the next mayoral election, scheduled this spring.

"It ain't over," he promises.

Read the rest of the article at:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quartzsite fires whistleblower cops

In stunning defiance of Federal Judge Mark Aspey's recommendation to keep "the staus quo" and work it out in arbitration, town tyrants have served Quartzsite "whistleblowers" with notices of termination!
Clearly, Chief Jeff Gilbert wants to show the officers who came groveling back last month who's boss!

Now, this will likely turn the Federal case, from an injunction to a wrongful termination /civil rights suit. Ok folks, scrape up the change from under your sofa cushions, and hit that donate button to help them defeat the "unholy trinity" at Quartzsite Town Hall!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jones v Lizarraga - Quartzsite election controversy continues

Be careful what you wish for, as the saying goes. Mayor elect Jose' Lizarraga, had barely been sworn in when candidate Jennifer Jones filed a legal chalenge to his eligibility in La Paz County Superior Court.

The civil action requests that Lizarraga be disqualified and Foster, the candidate with the next highest number of votes be declared the winner of the election.

Jones contends that Lizarraga is ineligible because he admits to violating Open Meeting Law. Under Quartzsite Ordinance 2-1-10, candidates are required to adhere to certain legal and ethical standards, and apparently cannot break laws or even code of ethics guidelines.

It appears that the ethically challenged Lizarraga cannot even avail himself of the town attorney without crossing a line, as the case is between private parties, and not against the body politic. Lizarraga must file a legal reply by Wednesday. The case has not yet been set for a hearing.

Looks like Jose' should have just said "no way" to the nomination, but he had to  know the turbulent history of the position of mayor going into it . Who in their right mind would even want the job under the current administration?

Friday, September 9, 2011

QPOA "whistle blower" cops in Federal Court today

According to a post on Facebook:
"All parties have agreed that the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Bartlett has expired and that the Q8 will need to re-file for such restraining orders in Federal Court. The judge also ordered a settlement conference between parties. The judge also stated that this decision does not resolve the matters of contempt of Judge Bartlett's court, which will require additional consideration...The moment Jackson Lewis moved to Federal Court, Judge Bartlett was unable to issue a contempt ruling. Furthermore, that temporary restraining order issued by Superior Court does have a statutory time limit. In order for the Federal Court to assume jurisdiction, the Quartzsite 8 will be required to submit motions for restraining orders with the Federal Court, and Quartzsite's representation will respond to said motions, and the Federal Court will then decide whether to grant that restraining order...A settlement conference is a standard court practice to allow parties an option to negotiate or proceed with litigation. The Judge wants to grant the parties an opportunity to "work it out"...This is actually not as simple as the employer/employee relationship. If it were, Federal Court may not have jurisdiction. We are treading in First Amendment waters here."

Proceeding Type:
Motion Hearing
RE: Doc #19, Set Motion Hearing
Type of Case:

Honorable Mark E Aspey
Flagstaff Courthouse

Court Reporter:
01:30 PM
Courtroom Clerk:
Christina Hurley

Stephen Frakes
James C Kemp
Reyna Kemp
Michelle Norris
Linda Conley
William Ponce
Herlan Yeomans
Eloina Yeomans
Heriberto Dominguez
Yoami Dominguez
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider
Charles Donald Onofry
Jon D Schneider

Quartzsite, Town of
Alex Taft
Jeffrey Gilbert
Albert Johnson
Rhonda Johnson
Sandy Gilbert
Justin Scott Pierce
Justin Scott Pierce
Justin Scott Pierce
Justin Scott Pierce
Justin Scott Pierce
Justin Scott Pierce